Boston Red Sox designated hitter Hanley Ramirez must be executing at a high level in order for the team to be successful in the playoffs.
Ramirez plays a key role in the overall offensive success of the team, particularly because of where he falls in the lineup. He must be able to drive runs with players on base, as well as be able to crack one over the wall when those before him fall short. It’s not an easy job, but Red Sox manager John Farrell knows he’s capable of doing it.
“I’ve said it many times, we’re a different team when his presence is felt in the middle of the order,” said Farrell. “There’s history there. There’s extra-base capability. He is a proven big league hitter.”
Throughout this season, the best word to describe Ramirez would be inconsistent. It is worth noting, however, that his weaker performances might have had something to do with the soreness he has been dealing with in his shoulders and biceps. Now that it seems as if these injuries are beginning to heal, the postseason could be the perfect opportunity for Ramirez to finish the season on a high.
Other thoughts coming into the playoffs:
- How will Farrell organize the pitching rotation? It is expected that Chris Sale and Drew Pomeranz will start Games 1 and 2. What happens after that? Farrell must choose between Doug Fister, Rick Porcello and Eduardo Rodriguez. Another option that has been mentioned, though unorthodox, would be to start the bullpen if the Sox make it to a Game 4 situation.
- Will the Red Sox offense be enough to overpower the Houston Astros? The Sox will have to find gaps in the Astros defense in order to get on the board. This means they will be stealing bases at any chance they get. The Astros’ catchers have been known to be unsuccessful in catching base stealers, catching only 14 of 116 this season.
- Dustin Pedroia missed nearly all of August due to a left knee injury he has been battling since it was operated on last offseason. The lingering injury is the reason why he sat out Sunday’s game against the Astros, allowing him to rest in preparation for the playoff series. Moreover, Pedroia is 3-for-30 against Astros’ pitcher Justin Verlander in his career. How will he perform against him this time around?
Game 1 of the ADLS begins Thursday, Oct. 5 at 4:08 p.m. as Red Sox’ Chris Sale (0-0, 0.00 ERA) opposes Astros’ Justin Verlander (0-0, 0.00).
Other start times
Game 2: Friday, Oct. 6 at 2:05 p.m. in Houston
Game 3: Sunday, Oct. 8 at 2:30 p.m. in Boston